A writer’s warm-up – 87

PhD Life

It is relatively early in the morning for me to be writing. Still, I have a lot of other writing-related things to do today, so I am trying to get a head start on it.

As I am not at my prime this early in the morning, and the mind is still a little foggy, something has occurred to me.

Do you, a writer, have a warm-up routine before starting?

I imagine writers are not the breed to have such a formality, but maybe there are some of you out there that are more structured in the process. I come from a background that is more athletic than academic; in the world of performance, having a warm-up routine ensures you start as close to optimal as possible.

The warm-up is for the mind as much as it is physical; the mind-muscle connection is real. Given this, it makes sense to me that before starting to write, there may be a benefit to do a form of warm-up. Having a quick google, it seems as if it is a concept that already exists. I am surprised that with all the effort I have put into ‘Learning to write’ that I have not come across this idea before.

I suppose that editing makes this idea less relevant, the allure of getting more words on the page is probably more appealing to most people. The type of writing I do lends itself to getting words onto the page and then editing down rather than editing as I go along.

Anyway, the reason I am starting this early is that I have to start putting together another piece of writing. At some point during my PhD, I have to undertake a three-month internship with a non-academic partner. The one I am going to apply for is a government organisation that conducts research into waste management in an attempt to guide policy. Throughout my research, I have referenced their work heavily, so I feel as if I know them quite well.

I have had some email correspondence with one of the lead researchers, and from the emails we exchanged, I am very confident of securing the placement if I can get to the interview stage. To get to the interview, I have to create a POSTnote, I know, I hadn’t heard of one either until I saw it was one of the requirements. It is a document that synthesis the research and relevant literature in an attempt to brief politicians. The documents also become available to the general public. You can see some examples here.

The one catch with this report is that it has to be about something not directly related to my field. Seeing as this is a document only to be used at the interview stage, I feel as if I could be a risky and produce one that is within my field and thus make it easier on myself. However, I know that data is the lifeblood of the company. I will be potentially joining, so I am going to make my piece about AI and agriculture and hope that it sticks.

So, I am off to do some research, this has been a proper warm-up for the challenge to come!

I hope you’re all having a much more enjoyable weekend than I am!

Author: Louis

Spend less than you earn, Invest the surplus, avoid debt. Eat food, not too much, mostly plants

26 thoughts on “A writer’s warm-up – 87”

  1. Hi Louis 🙂
    If I don’t have words tumbling over each other in their hurry to get onto the page, I sometimes “warm up” by writing something else (even social media posts) to get things “flowing”.
    I’m really interested to see the examples of POSTnote that you mentioned, but the link doesn’t seem to be there yet.
    I hope you get great satisfaction from writing your piece, & that you get the internship you want. Sounds promising!

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      1. I just start writing. Sometimes I read some articles first, to “trigger” something to write about. Then, if I was actually trying to write about something else, I can move on to that task.
        I think I’ve read a similar suggestion for overcoming writer’s block, and maybe that’s sort of the same thing?
        Sorry I’m not more scientific about it! Possibly I’m not particularly good at it either, LOL!

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  2. Louis – You’re definitely not the only one who hadn’t thought of applying the “warm-up” to the writing process. I’ve seen several YouTubers share their “morning routines” and discuss how those routines help them start out their work day on the right note, but I never thought about tweaking the concept to make it work for a “warm-up” for writing. I think it’s brilliant though. Wish I thought of it first. Anyway, I think I’ll use those motivators that get me into a writing mood and start instituting them daily in my “before-I-start writing in the morning” routine. Thanks for the insight.

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  3. This Duck is on the Pond, I need my cup of Joe in the early A.M. Social Media and posting helps. Some music soft rock. people coming and going are of no help. I find peace at the shore and mountains the best to be with nature. But every day I look up even when the sky is Grey or Dark. (Faith)

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  4. I stumbled across this idea when I first started writing daily. I started small, 100 words per day, but soon implemented it as my warm-up on days when I have a larger project. The first thing every morning is my cup of coffee, my piece of flash fiction, and then I dive into the real work of the day.

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  5. A cup of coffee or maybe two is my warm up. Not very original. To be honest I have never really thought about developing some sort of warm-up to prepare me for writing. Yet, when I do any form of physical exercise, I always warm-up first. I see what you are saying about warming up the mind muscle. I think I may have to think some more on this. Could be a way forward. Thanks for sharing this and wish you the best of luck when you have your interview! 🙂

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  6. Warm up? Some say it’s important. I don’t.

    Getting your thoughts down is the important bit—editing them after you’ve cooled down is the more important bit.
    You know, weeding-for-reading: did youactualklky say what you wanted (yes/no/maybe)? Will ‘they’ (the great unwashed) understand your brilliant literary gem? (Yay~! If so …) (booo~! if no …)

    Never forget that you are writing for them to read more than for you to spout. So make it easy (easy is good, but not so easy as hard) on everybody by making it a little tougher on yourself. Give ’em what they can use—you don’t (shouldn’t) write for admiration and points but to get The Word across. Your word … and never, never, never use ME as an example. Brrrrr~!

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  7. For my morning warm-up routine, I post on Facebook. I know that sounds crazy, but on my timeline and author page, I include national calendar entries and anything my smart speaker Alexa tells me when I say good morning to her. If you want to know more, go to Facebook and search for Abbie’s Corner of the World. That’s my author page.

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  8. Hi,

    First thing for me is a good breakfast then brainstorming to get myself into the ‘flow’; sometimes a little reading helps when I’m really finding it hard to get into that ‘flow’ state…
    Good luck with your piece and internship…

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  9. I’ve seen warm-up exercises for creative writers, but I just jump in. I work full-time, so writing time is precious, and I want to make the most of it. I’m the same way with exercise, though I know a warm-up is healthier. It’s just that time is so short.

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  10. Good luck! I never thought of warming up. I think I kind of think all day as my warm up and then whatever comes out the tips of my fingers is what I’ve been thinking about all day. All I have to say, is find a way to enjoy the process, right! Enjoy!

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  11. You know what Louis I have never come across with warm-up for writing things.. I used to think what I am about to project in my page and then directly write it down. I used to write on real events and fantasy too.. these things never needed any warm-up session. But am gonna try for my upcoming work. Something new to the store my knowledge. Keep going✌

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  12. Now, I’m thinking if I also have a warm-up for my brain myself. Haha. Thank you for this. I also read somewhere that exercise isn’t just for legs, arms etc but it benefits more our brain since it helps our brain to become more active.

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  13. I’m a sci-fi/fantasy writer, so my experience may be a bit different, but I’ve never been big on preparing to write. I think the hardest part of building a writing regimen was about just learning to do it every day, and in all kinds of environments. There aren’t specific things I often do before writing, other than sit with pen and paper and think about that part of the story. The other thing I did a lot was listen to music first. It’s more about cultivating the mental headspace that writing occupies than the routine or physical space. Nonfiction is quite different in dealing with existing facts and knowledge, so that part’s probably easier. It requires more solid kinds of preparation, such as research and intake of knowledge, while with fiction it’s usually done afterward, with the editing (at least the way I do it).

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  14. Reading is one of my “warmup” activities. I like to read something that inspires me. Sometimes that means articles that are meant to motivate writers, and other times it means reading any well-written passage that inspires me with its form.

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  15. I don’t have a warm-up. My writing time (especially lately) has been so limited, I( cn’t afford to spend time “getting ready to write.” We all function differently, but whenever I have tried to do something else even resembling a warm-up, it has rapidly turned into a way of delaying the actual work.
    All I know to do is sit down and write, and if what I had planned to work on doesn’t want to come out to play, then I throw any words that come to mind onto the page, and go where they lead me.
    A writer must write…

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